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The book Dreamland covers this quite a bit, and is a good read on the subject:


My takeaway was that opiates were incorrectly classified as a non-addictive way to treat pain, so doctors started dolling them out far too liberally. Hospitals also started employing pain specialists who's sole job was to treat pain in patients. It's pretty easy to find people in any sort of "pain" if that's all you're looking for.

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